Internet Explorer (IE) was one of the most popular web browsers from the mid-90s to the early 2000s. IE not only allowed home users to access the internet via their home computer, but it also enabled organizations in the United States and around the world to develop tools and websites that improved their daily operations.
But after many years, IE will finally be discontinued. In a 2020 blog post, Microsoft announced that its Microsoft 365 applications will no longer support IE starting August 17, 2021. The web browser will be retired and go out of support for certain Windows 10 versions on June 15, 2022.
The importance of Internet Explorer for businesses
Despite its measly market share and the rise of other popular web browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox, IE is still being used by many businesses today. In fact, according to a recent survey by Microsoft, many organizations still use IE for their legacy apps or programs based on old technology.
Why is this so? Because IE was the default Windows browser until Windows 8.1, businesses spent plenty of time, money, and expertise on supporting the platform. This resulted in business applications relying on Internet Explorer technologies.
If a company wanted to transition away from the web browser, they would need to spend money to replace their old apps, according to Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist at Sophos.
According to a recent survey by Microsoft, many organizations still use Internet Explorer for legacy apps.
What are the alternatives to Internet Explorer?
Fortunately, there are modern solutions that can help businesses access their legacy websites and applications even after IE’s end-of-support. Here are just some of them:
1. Microsoft Edge
Released in 2015, Microsoft Edge is the successor to Internet Explorer. It currently offers features such as Chrome extensions support, vertical tabs, fast browsing speeds, and tight integration with Windows 10.
Businesses will also likely find its Internet Explorer mode (IE mode) useful. IE mode is a feature that allows organizations to run legacy apps within Microsoft Edge without the need to use another browser. Here’s how to enable it:
- Open Microsoft Edge.
- Click on the three dots button on the top right corner of the screen and click Settings.
- Click on Default Browser from the left menu pane.
- Enable “Allow sites to be reloaded in Internet Explorer mode.”
- Restart Microsoft Edge. IE mode should now be enabled.
2. Third-party web browsers
If your business primarily uses browsers like Google Chrome or Firefox, you can use their Legacy Browser Support (LBS) features to access legacy apps.
Through LBS, an IT administrator can configure a list of URLs of legacy web-based apps that require a browser like Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge to function correctly. They can then add that list to a group policy. When a user types in a website that is on the list, IE or Edge will open automatically. If they open a new tab in those browsers, they will be redirected back to Chrome or Firefox.
Here’s how you can enable the feature on Google Chrome and Firefox. It’s important to note, however, that only Chrome currently supports the use of Microsoft Edge for LBS.
Should you continue using Internet Explorer?
After IE is retired on June 15, 2022, it will be disabled through a Windows 10 cumulative monthly update. If a user tries to access it, Microsoft Edge will open instead.
But even though IE hasn't reached its end of support yet, business and individual users alike shouldn't use it for daily tasks. This is because the browser is plagued with security issues that could enable cybercriminals to attack users and steal their data. What’s more, websites today are built for browsers like Edge, Firefox, and Chrome. Unless you need to access legacy applications, avoid using IE at all costs.
As the end of support for Internet Explorer draws near, your Orange County or Los Angeles business should be prepared. Plan your exit strategy today with Complete Document Solutions. Our technology experts will ensure that your legacy apps will continue to work even on a modern web browser. Contact us today to learn more.
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